Thursday, 14 May 2015

Jalapeno Popper Burgers

OOooooOooooh boy.
It's May long weekend!  I'm so excited.
For most, May long weekend truly kicks off the summer season.  And why wouldn't it?  If you don't live here in Northern Alberta that is.  Or anywhere in Alberta.  Or Canada.  Because it could very well snow!
But the forecast looks halfway decent and should involve a BBQ and a backyard fire in the pit I only tripped over all last summer.
Before we get to the main event, let's do a quick run-down of other burgers you could try this weekend - or this summer!
One of my all-time favorites - Shrimp Burgers.  So light and lemony and delicious!

Just a sauce topping that turns a regular burger into a wild, smoky treat.  Wild Mountain Bacon Cheeseburger sauce.

If turkey is your thing - you could try these Southwestern Turkey Burgers.  But that chipotle pepper ketchup would totally rock a regular beef burger.

And for a Mediterranean twist - how about these Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers?  The mint, the parsley, and the complex of spices topped with a creamy, dreamy Tzatziki sauce is totally perfect for a hot summer day!

But.  You're here to drool over these Jalapeno Popper Burgers.

And drool you will.

Remember my Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich?  Sooooo good.

Same kinda thing here.  But with beef.  And bacon.  And this delish avocado/ranch topping.

Except this time I roasted the jalapenos on the barbecue.  Over about 450 degree F heat, put the jalapenos straight onto the grill.  Then give 'em a turn every few minutes until the skins are blackened and loose.  Then let them cool, peel the skins, cut them open and remove the seeds and membranes.  Or you can leave them for the spice factor.
Somewhat superior to the oven method, the smoky flavor from the barbecue is amazing.  Plus - no turning on your oven when it's 800 degrees inside.
Then add the diced up jalapenos to softened cream cheese.  Stir to combine.

Now for the assembly.  Take the ground beef and season it.  Toss in an egg or some bread crumbs for the binding.  Honestly - you could do a Lipton onion soup-type burger (which my Mom has always done) and it's perfect.  Or whatever floats your boat.

Then seperate the beef into 8 pieces and press into patties a little larger than the size of your bun.

And divide the cream cheese mixture between 4 of the patties.

Then take the 4 naked patties and place those on top of the cheese-topped patties.  You want to kind of pinch the edges of the patties so that they're sealed together.  That will keep them from flopping apart and keeps the cheese from seeping out.

Make sure your barbecue is ready and get those burgers on there.  As far as cook time goes - 400 - 450 degrees F (if you have a thermometer), or whatever medium-high heat is.  Or 2 steamboats count.
At this point you can choose if you want to use slices of cheese, or grate up some cheddar and pile it on.  I grated cheddar and I feel like it totally changed my burger experience!  Infinitely better than slices!

Look how gooey and melty.


For the topping.  You could absolutely spread on a little more cream cheese.  Or put on mayo.  Or ketchup (but that would be weird).  Or whatever blows your hair back.


I recommend doing this topping.  A ripe avocado and 1/2 a cup of ranch dressing.  Just make sure it's nice and thick dressing.  The stuff I brought home was kind of runny and the end result was not that amazing.

The avocado-ranch topping will cool off the heat of the jalapenos - if you're of the brave variety and have left the seeds and membranes.

Now, I'm somewhat faint of heart when it comes to heat, so I diligently scraped out the seeds and membranes of each jalapeno.  Which left a little zing, but no heat.  But the avocado-ranch topping was still a fantastic complement to the burger.

And make sure there's bacon.

Burgers need bacon.  Like meatloaf needs potatoes.  Burgers need bacon.

And buns.  But who's counting.


These were totally fantastic.  The saltiness of the cheese, the crisp of the bacon, the sweetness of the cream cheese, the zing of the jalapenos - that avocado-ranch topping.  It all went together like it was always meant to be.

And - to be completely honest - I was somewhat freaked out by the weird combo of ground beef and cream cheese....  They just don't seem like they should go together.  Ever.

It totally works.  Really.  I would never lie to you.

Welcome to summer kids.  Now get out there and barbecue!!!!

Jalapeno Popper Burgers

4 jalapeno peppers
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, season to taste (add in a binder if desired)
8 strips bacon, cooked to desired crispness
Cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup ranch dressing
  1. Preheat a barbecue to medium-high heat. 
  2. Place the 4 jalapeno peppers directly on the grill.  Turn occassionally until the skin on all sides are blackened, about 7 - 8 minutes.  Remove from grill and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. While the jalapenos are cooling, divide the ground beef into 8 pieces and flatten into patties slightly larger in diameter than the bun you will be using.
  4. Make the avocado-ranch topping.  Cut open and mash the avocado in a medium bowl.  Stir in the ranch dressing.  Set aside.
  5. Once the jalapenos are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins (discard), cut in half and scrape out the seeds and membranes (if desired).  Dice the jalapeno.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and diced jalapeno and stir together.
  7. Divide the cream cheese between 4 of the beef patties.
  8. Top the cream cheese topped patties with the 4 remaining patties and pinch to seal.
  9. Cook the burgers over medium-high heat to desired doneness, 3 to 6 minutes.
  10. During the last couple of minutes of cooking, top with the cheddar cheese.  Close the barbecue lid to melt the cheese.
  11. Build the burgers:  Bottom bun, burger patty, bacon, avocado-ranch dressing, top bun.  Serve.
Source:  I'm SO sorry - I can't remember where this came from!   I'm sure I grabbed it from Tastespotting somewhere.

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